USPTO patent fees: How to save or defer fees

What are standard USPTO filing fees for a utility nonprovisional patent application?

Anyone concerned about cash flow will be glad to know that certain USPTO patent fees may be deferred. When it comes to filing a US utility nonprovisional patent application, three essential USPTO patent fees must ultimately be paid:

  1. Basic Filing Fee
  2. Utility Search Fee
  3. Utility Examination Fee

Keep in mind that deferral of USPTO patent fees may ultimately lead to higher overall costs due to late penalties and additional attorney’s fees for responding to additional USPTO notices.

What is the minimum USPTO fee that must be paid when filing a US national stage application?

The initial filing of US national stage application must include at least the Basic Filing Fee. Payment of both the search fee and examination fee may be deferred until after the initial filing of a US national phase application.

What USPTO patent fees may be deferred when filing a new nonprovisional application (not national stage)?

If a new nonprovisional application is not a national stage application (e.g., conventional priority claim to a foreign application, no priority claim, etc.), then no USPTO fees need to be paid at the initial filing. The applicant will receive a Notice to File Missing Parts which will provide a deadline for paying the three essential fees above plus any surcharges.

What late fees will be incurred by deferring patent fees?

As of the date of this post, the USPTO surcharge price for deferring USPTO non-provisional patent fees is $160 for a large entity and $80 for a small entity.

Can patent extension fees be deferred?

Yes, in a sense. The USPTO does not require patent applicants to request or pay for an extension of time before entering the extended time period. This is unlike extensions in trademark applications where applicants, for example, must request an extension of time in an Intent-To-Use application in order to gain additional time for filing a Statement of Use.

When responding to a patent Office Action, the applicant may simply enter into the extended time period (e.g., after three months from the issue date of a substantive Office Action) without first paying for an extension. When the response is actually filed, the response will include a retroactive extension request for the appropriate number of months required. Your patent practitioner will also concurrently pay the requisite USPTO extension fees when the Office Action response is filed. This is what is we mean by retroactively requesting and paying the USPTO extension fee.

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